THE REFERENDUM AND FRENCH PROPERTY.
The decision has been made and negotiations have yet to start, but here is my view of the possible effects on British French Property buyers and owners following the referendum.
France, as well as Spain and Italy, have been very popular with British home buyers for many years, and certainly before the Common Market came into being. We have voted to leave so we might be in the same situation as the Americans and Australians who have been buying in France for many years – and live there very happily! If my friends and business associates in France are anything to go by, the British will continue to be very welcome.
Will there be any possibility of the British losing the ownership of their properties if we leave? Definitely not!
Would we need to apply for a visa to visit France and other EU countries if we vote to leave? In my view this is unlikely as there would probably be a reciprocal arrangement with all the EU countries.
It is possible that the British may need to apply for a fixed term ‘carte de sejour’ / permit to live in France and reapply before each expiry date. They may have to prove that they have enough wealth so as not to be a burden on French social security. They may even have to take a language test – but if living in any overseas country a basic knowledge of the language is essential.
With regard to healthcare the current reciprocal arrangements may be terminated, although members of the European Economic Area have reciprocal arrangements with the EEC countries. Of course, there are insurance companies specialising in this field – so I do not see a problem.
The state pension situation for British people residing in France and other EU countries will have to be agreed. There is some doubt as to whether or not state pension payments to the British residents in France will be protected by the ‘triple lock’. We can only hope that the government will not be vindictive and that the current situation will continue.
Mortgages when buying in the EU may be a problem in that interest rates may be higher for British or other ‘foreign’ buyers and higher deposits may be necessary. Banks work across borders and I feel sure that any problems will not be too onerous.
There may be increased social charges and / or capital gains tax when selling.
With regard to personal taxation, there should be little or no effect as Britain and France have a dual tax treaty.
It was inevitable that in the event of a vote to leave the EU there would be turmoil in the financial markets. However, steps have been taken which we hope will stabilise the market.
On balance I do not see any serious problems for French property owners and buyers. Property prices remain very low in most areas, and even with the current exchange rate it’s not a bad time to take advantage and buy!